Assistant Professor, Comparative Politics

Ph.D. European University Institute, Italy
Master of Research European University Institute, Italy
M.A. University of Florence, Italy
B.A. University of Florence, Italy

Office: Kaletsch Campus, Office 3
Phone: +41 91 986 53 33

Elisa Volpi received her Ph.D. from the European University Institute (Florence, Italy) in 2019. Her dissertation was awarded the prestigious ECPR Jean Blondel Ph.D. Prize in 2020. Before joining Franklin, she was post-doctoral researcher at the University of Geneva (2018-2022), where she also coordinated the doctoral program in political science.

Her main research interests are political elites and political parties that she studies with a comparative approach, using historical techniques and experimental designs.

Elisa Volpi participated in several international conferences and she was invited to give talks at leading foreign universities. Her work has been published in prominent peer-reviewed journals, such as "European Journal of Political Research", "Party Politics" and "Parliamentary Affairs".

She is currently working on a project in collaboration with the University of Geneva on citizens’ and elites’ perception of economic inequality. She is also part of an international project (including the Swiss universities of Geneva and Lausanne) on how elected politicians perceive the public opinion and relate to the inputs coming from it. In the framework of this project, Elisa Volpi interviewed several Swiss national legislators.

Professional Experience

Post-doctoral researcher and lecturer, University of Geneva, Switzerland (2018 – 2022)

Coordinator of the doctoral program in Political Science for Western Switzerland, Conférence Universitaire de Suisse Occidentale (CUSO) (2021-2022)

Invited Lecturer, University of Lucerne (2018 and 2022)

Visiting Scholar, Collegio Carlo Alberto, Turin, Italy (2021-2022)

Visiting Researcher, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium (2017)


2023-2024 Courses

POL 100 Introduction to Political Science FALL 2023
POL 497 Readings and Methods in Political Science and International Relations FALL 2023
POL 100 Introduction to Political Science SPRING 2024
POL 215 Inequality and Politics SPRING 2024
POL 231T The Politics of Organized Crime (Southern Italy) SPRING 2024

Areas of Research:

Elisa Volpi’s primary research interests are political elites and their attitudes and behavior. Her work lies at the intersection between legislative studies, party politics, and political economy. In particular, during her Ph.D., she studied the determinants of legislative party switching. Later, during her post-doc, she focused on elites' perceptions of economic inequality. Methodologically, she combines historical and comparative analysis with experimental research.



Ceron, Andrea and Elisa Volpi (2022). "How do parties react to defections? Electoral strategies after a valence loss". In: European Journal of Political Research,

Ceron, Andrea and Elisa Volpi (2021). "Breakups hurt: Party switching and perceived proximity between politicians and their party". In: Party Politics, Volume 27, Issue 4, Pages 656-666,

Volpi, Elisa (2019). "Ideology and party switching: A comparison of 12 West European countries". In Parliamentary Affairs, Volume 72, Issue 1, January 2019, Pages 1–20, Article selected as Editor’s Choice for the issue.

Book chapters:

Volpi, Elisa, Lorenzo Cicchi and Tobias Widmann (in press). "Pandemic frames: How is the European Union narrated by Italian (populist) parties during Covid-19’s first wave in Italy" in Populism in Contemporary Italian Politics: Actors and Processes in Times of Crisis, Edited by: Calossi, Enrico and Paola Imperatore. Pisa University Press.


Andrea Ceron and Elisa Volpi. "Don't sweep it under the carpet! How parties react to defections"
(link), The Loop, April 2022.

Elisa Volpi. "The so-called crisis of political parties is, in fact, evidence of their adaption. Here's why"
(link), The Loop, January 2021.

Andrea Ceron and Elisa Volpi. "Non tutte le scissioni vengono per nuocere. Vedi il caso Pd-Iv"
(link), Il Foglio, 21 February 2020

Elisa Volpi. "Il trasformismo? Si ferma con i regolamenti parlamentari"
(link),, 12 June 2018

Elisa Volpi. "Elezioni Regionali in Piemonte: vittoria del centrosinistra o disfatta del centrodestra?"
(link), Centro Italiano di Studi Elettorali, 28 May 2014

Awards and Honors:

"5 Women for Restarting", award by the regional government of Tuscany to "five women who distinguished themselves for their achievements and contributions to their fields and the society" (03/2021)

ECPR Jean Blondel Ph.D. Prize for best thesis (2020) 


Current projects:

Inequality in the Mind, with Prof. Nathalie Giger, University of Geneva

Rep Project, with Prof. Frédéric Varone (University of Geneva) and Prof. Pirmin Bundi (University of Lausanne)